- A man in China attempted suicide because he was ashamed that his son was still single aged 29.
- He survived the incident and is reportedly receiving hospital treatment.
- The case sparked a social media debate about the pressures for young people in China to get married.
A father in China attempted to commit suicide because he was ashamed his son was not yet married at the age of 29.
According to local video news outlet KNews, the unnamed 55-year-old handed a suicide note to guards at Shanghai Railway Station on January 22 and said he had just overdosed on medication. He then fainted on the spot, said one of the guards interviewed by KNews.
In the note, addressed to his son, the man wrote that he “lived a life of shame” because his son had yet to start a family, per the report.
“People of my age in the village all have children and grandchildren already … but you are 29 and have achieved nothing,” he wrote.
While the man has survived the incident and is reportedly receiving hospital treatment, the case has sparked a social media conversation about the pressures for young Chinese to settle down early.
On China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo, one user commented that as a father himself, he could relate.
“The father’s responsibility is to raise his son well and give him a good education, but also see him married and start a business. Only then can he complete his mission,” he wrote.
Others commented that it would be even harder for this man’s son to tie the knot now, because the pressure from the in-laws is too great.
In China, there is an expectation for people to get married before they turn 30, and it is not uncommon for parents to push their children in that direction, even setting up blind dates for them.
If young women are not married after 27, they are referred to as “sheng nu,” or “leftover women.” This comes even as close to half of China’s urban young women have said that they do not plan to get hitched.
As for young men, they are pushed to settle down as soon as possible because they are “expected to carry on the family lineage,” Dr. Mu Zheng, a sociology expert at the National University of Singapore, told Insider.
“Marriage has also been an important marker of social maturation and personal success,” she said.
“Given China’s high housing prices and the expectations for men to assume the majority of costs in a household, transitioning to marriage indicates that the man is socially and financially ready.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.